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Showtime during the hard times…

Patrick Svensk on making the best out of a bad macro-economic situation

Like every other business in a global economy, international television is affected both by the economic climate. Historically the most crucial macro factor is the increase and decrease of private consumption in individual markets.

If private consumption starts to drop, or at the very least the growth rate slows down, this can of course have a similar negative effect on broadcasters and therefore force them to save on their programming budgets.

What if this happens in the key territories where we produce and sell our shows, will that have a negative effect on all our ambitions to grow and sell new formats and get re-commissions of old ones?

Yes, of course it could, but I sincerely believe there are a number of significant factors that work against this premise in most international territories.

Digitization is one huge factor that can work in our favour. With so many new channels being launched there is a growing demand for content from new networks and from older, more established broadcasters that are extending the number of channels they operate.

We are seeing the majority of broadcasters in the territories that Zodiak Television produces in and sells to, increasing their programming budgets despite the credit crunch and talk of recession.

There will always be a strong demand for the shows that deliver the really big audiences and, if you have additional revenue streams connected to them, you and your clients surely have a money machine going.

At the other end of the marketplace, there will be an increase in demand for cost efficient, targeted, long-running series. Once again, if these have interactive parts or multiple revenues it is even better. Those of us who can help the large broadcasters to really get their web going will hopefully be well rewarded.

However, if you are somewhere in the middle, developing and delivering local primetime shows with just one series and no loyal audience and no other extra benefits, then you will have to reinvent your business every season.

Let’s remember that one of the best and inexpensive ways for people to be entertained during the hard times is to stay in and watch television. The opportunity for us all to give people a break by having fun watching our shows is huge. So, let’s keep up the good work in TV-land -­ we’ve got viewers who need us to show them a good time!

Patrick Svensk is Senior VP Mergers and Acquisitions/Business Development at Zodiak Entertainment